I thought I would share a little bit about the church we have connected with in Moshi, since it is part of our life here now.
St. Margaret’s is an anglican church, but I’ve heard that probably only about 10% of the english service congregation is actually anglican. This, and the fact that there are at least 5-10 countries represented on any given Sunday, gives the church a very diverse feel.
(There is also a swahili service that meets prior to the english service. It is much larger and, from what I hear, much more anglican. We would like to start going to this service, as well, but 8:00 is early, so we haven’t gotten around to it yet.)
St. Margaret’s english congregation is in somewhat of a unique situation at the moment, as their most recent pastor and his wife were only here for a year commitment, and have just left. This congregation has had experience in functioning without a pastor before, so this is nothing new, but it is always a time of unpredictability and necessary flexibility. Since it is a small congregation with an even smaller number of permanent/semi-permanent congregants, almost everyone has to pitch in in some way to keep things functioning.
They have solved this in part by having a simple sign up sheet at the back of the sanctuary containing the positions that need to be filled for each Sunday of the month: Speaker, Service Leader, Music Leader, Prayer Leader, Scripture Reader, etc… There is also a Service Coordinator whose job it is to ensure that all necessary spots are filled before Sunday rolls around.
Although it is a challenge, it is this kind of experience that can really draw a community together. Because there is such a necessity for involvement, people have to step up and pitch in. It is an excellent time to learn about personal strengths and weaknesses, and ultimately a place where the words of Paul can be experienced and affirmed:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
(1 Cor 12:4-11)
We are looking forward to seeing the ways God will move in and through this congregation in the months ahead. …And if you know of a pastor who is interested in working overseas with a primarily western congregation, direct him my way!